Minneapolis view Friday, Apr 25 2008 

I tend to take rather crappy pictures, but this one, from my hotel window, is all right. The other, of me getting ready to sign at the service-learning conference, is lots better (not taken, obviously, by me).

It was a very high-energy conference – a lot of young people, yay, and many panels and workshops, far too many to hope to see them all. And a multitude of good comments at the two panels I participated in, one solo, one led by the indefatigable Cathryn Berger Kaye whose energy could power a small city. We were sorry Janet Tashjian wasn’t able to join us (a combination of bad weather and airline snafu) but Cathy was a very able “Janet”/substitute, and Janet herself provided comments via email.

My part of the conference ended Friday (after breakfast at Hell’s Kitchen, my favorite Twin Cities restaurant – go, Ralph Steadman, go!), and that afternoon I was scooped up by Greg Ketter of the mighty DreamHaven Books. Greg & family (hi, Lisa and William!) hosted me for the weekend at their wooded retreat (saw three deer from the dining room window, and a plethora of birds). Greg and I did the mini-Mpls bookstore tour – Red Balloon, Common Good Books – and spent some time at the joyful and terrific maelstrom that is In the Heart of the Beast puppet and mask theater (more research/frolic for my adult novel).

When I left, flying out late Sunday morning, the sun was shining for the first time all week, a fitting finale.. . Did I mention I had a can of Fancy Feast in my luggage? No? It was tuna-and-something in a rich’n’creamy sauce.

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Judgmental Monday, Apr 14 2008 

Wait, that came out wrong. . .What I meant was, I’ve been asked to be one of the judges for the annual teen writers’ short story contest sponsored by the Ann Arbor Library, in conjunction with the AA Book Festival. The winning stories will be published in a booklet that’s then distributed to local schools and other libraries.

Typically, says librarian Vicki Browne, they receive over 200 submissions, a fine commentary on literacy among those young people who, says popular “wisdom,” just don’t read anymore, and forget about writing. So much for popular wisdom.

Let the entries flow!